Weekly Newsletter – June 23

After two weeks of lockdown

Followed by a storm for the ages, Yarra Ranges Athletics managed to bring some fun back to the community over the weekend. The return of Saturday morning cross country, last week at Elizabeth Bridge Reserve in Kilsyth, bought joy and fun to all the athletes and parents attending.

The course was in spectacular cross country condition, sunny overhead and very wet underfoot! With choccy frogs up for grabs for a course PB, the athletes were keen to have a crack. Athletes started in COVID safe waves of less than 20 making for many interesting races.

Well done to all who participated, we look forward to seeing you this coming Saturday at Lillydale Lake.

Cruden farm was scheduled to be this weekend as well but AV has been postponed it until 10th July.

Club training

Club training continues with 6-12yo training on Wednesdays at Morrison Reserve from 4pm with Kate and open age training on Tuesdays from 5.30pm at Morrison Reserve and Thursdays from 5.30 at Victoria Rd Primary School gym.

LAVic Club Excellence nominations

It is with absolute pleasure that I can confirm that we have entered two of our club members into the 2021 LAVic Centre Excellence Awards. These two people are well known for their hard work amongst our community and it is so important that we celebrate their efforts. Their passion for athletics knows no bounds and we are so grateful to have their passionate and talented hands with us.

Our nominee for the Centre Volunteer of the Year award goes to Bryan Ackerly. If centres are ever lucky enough to have someone like Bryan come along, they are truly blessed, as there could not possibly be too many people like him.

Bryan is quite simply always there. If there is a Yarra Ranges Athletics activity, he is there. His presence is not as a spectator, or passenger, and definitely not to be in the spotlight. He is a doer, a fixer, a solution maker. In weekly competition his specialty is as technical expert for all things timing, sound, electronics and equipment.

Bryan is a critical contributor to the racing experience of our athletes, ensuring results are captured accurately and helping them share in the excitement of PB performances as they gather around his customised display.

Something that may not be known about Bryan is that he has never been a parent of an athlete in Little Athletics, yet he stays involved because he enjoys making a difference. He is a year-round contributor, and is actively involved in both Summer and Winter competition.

Bryan is an amazing and positive influence around the athletes of all ages, encouraging them to be their best and showing them how to enjoy the sport, and a wonderful example of the joy that can be had from volunteerism.

Our nominee for the Coach of the Year, and Bryan Neighbour Centre Coach of the Year awards goes to Kate Downward. In a year when most things, including athletics were disrupted, Kate went to incredible lengths to keep our families and athletes active.

Not only through regular weekly coaching aimed at those athletes first developing a training habit, but also those stretching into their first experiences of competing beyond the Centre, at Region and State level competition.

In the last 12 months Kate has shown a keen determination to prevent lockdown and restrictions from completely cutting athletics off from club members and families. And she succeeded with flying colours – by hosting weekly live skills training sessions via our club Facebook page, Kate was the reassuring and reliable face of athletics coaching in a time when there was lots of uncertainty and disruption.

When training and competition were able to resume, Kate was a key contributor to helping us navigate the changing restrictions and to identify what and how we could host athletics, safely and effectively within the protocols at each stage.

She has an amazing ability to lift the confidence and enthusiasm of those around her. Without being a ‘larger than life’ personality, her quiet strength and determination makes her athletes trust her advice, listen to her instructions and try their best to improve weekly.

Kate is someone who has an idea, and makes it happen, without waiting for others to do the hard work, she shows how to get it done. Her reliability builds trust in those around her, and so easily brings others along in the capacity as helpers.

Kate and Bryan, how unbelievably fortunate we are to have you as a part of our club. It is passionate volunteers like Kate and Bryan that make athletics the inclusive, rewarding, and incredible sport that it is. On behalf of the committee, and whole YRA community, I extend my warmest gratitude and appreciation to you both. Thank you!

Max Savill-Bentley


Next round

We will be returning to Lillydale Lake this weekend for another round of cross country.

With thanks to the Shire for cleaning up the storm damage, the course shouldn’t require too many changes.

Remember to arrive early and bring a change of clothes, it will be a rainy morning – perfect conditions for XC!

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